Category: Tales Of Hoffman

The Second Part of Summer, 2014

I reviewed a whole boatload of movies this summer. Most of those links are highlighted (in lime green!) under the “Films Seen” links below.
But here are some links of non-review work I did that I’m proud of that went live since the last time I’ve done a wrap-up like this. This is all from after my trip to the Jerusalem Film Festival (and here’s another opportunity to read about that at Indiewire winkyface.)
For I wrote an Oral History of Galaxy Quest.
For The Guardian I did my best to explain What The Hell Fantastic Fest Is All About. Also, I wrote about Lincoln Center’s Far Out Foreign Language Sci-Fi Series. Lastly, I wrote a fairly lengthy profile of Jessica Chastain. She was very nice.
For I hung out with André Gregory and Wallace Shawn. I also used what little power I could to help a documentary about Moondog make its Kickstarter goal. I also had a nice schmooze with Carol Liefer.
I also did a tiny but of party reporting for the New York Daily News at the Toronto Film Festival. (You can read that here and here . And as “additional reporting by” here, here and here.
A li’l something on ScreenCrush listing the 18 Most Awesome Thomas Pynchon Character Names.
And finally, a re-cap from my time at the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas over at my beloved

This Week In Hoffman

(This is my new thing, where each week I link out to stuff that has published that’s worth some of your time.)
An unusual week, as I was in Jerusalem for the Jerusalem Film Festival. I was also there just as Hamas really started amping up its rocket attacks and Israel responded with its military. I don’t write about politics and I don’t have the energy to get into it right now, but if we’re friends and you want my opinion on all this, let’s get a beer. A lot of people don’t know the historical context. I do and I’m not afraid to enlighten you, but not right now – it’s Sunday night and I’m tired.
Anyway, for Indiewire, I wrote a piece about being a journalist at the fest during this curious time. You can read that here.
For Times of Israel I wrote about some of the films appearing there. (I saw more than I wrote about, but I didn’t want to mention the shitty ones, thinking they’d never ever be seen again. Jokes on me, though, as one of the dreadful pictures, Princess, actually won an award. There’s no accounting for taste.) Anyway, some of these movies should really be on your radar and you can read the piece here.
I also interviewed the filmmaker Shira Geffen. She’s the co-director of the Cannes hit Jellyfish from a few years ago, and has a new one called Self-Made. I reviewed Self-Made in Vanity Fair (and you can read that here) but my review, which is topical and, at times, funny, is on Times of Israel and you can read that here.
Unrelated to the Jerusalem Film Festival, but also for Times of Israel, I interviewed Steven Pressman, the author and filmmaker behind 50 Children, a fascinating look at two Americans who smuggled children out of Vienna during WWII. Our conversation goes to some unexpected places, including the rather remarkable upswing in European anti-Semitism. You can read that here.
I also reviewed two crappy sequels for the New York Daily News. They were Planes: Fire and Rescue and The Purge: Anarchy. As bad as they were, they aren’t nearly as bad as Deliver Us From Evil. You can read my review of that infuriating piece of garbage at the Guardian.

Why Does Bill Hader Look Like He Wants To Murder Me In This Picture?

Because he’s standing there with a dummy who thinks it’s cool to make jokes about people dying in a natural disaster.
But, let’s back it up a bit.
I used to do a lot more celebrity interviews than I do now. Now it’s a once in a while thing, and usually they are over the phone or in a quiet office somewhere. Last July 2013 I went old school and made a return to the “press lines” and red carpet world during San Diego Comic-Con.
Among those I spoke to was Bill Hader. Nice chap, very funny, and promoting his then forthcoming picture “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2.”
What you get at these things are a few minutes to give a comedian like Hader a set-up for him to make a funny retort that’ll cut well. This interview was going fine, except for the fact that the room we were in (stashed in the back of an enormous Hilton hotel) was very loud.
So, we’re talking about the Foodimals in the “Cloudy” films, and how giant cheeseburger monsters are chasing children around. Hader and I are zipping back and forth about the threats posed by scientifically modified foods and I say “wow – looks like this movie is worse than Monsanto!”
That’s funny if you get it, admittedly baffling if you don’t. But it comes off as very poor taste if, due to the chaos of the very loud room, you hear the word “Monsanto” as “Monsoon.”
You see, just a few days earlier, there had been massive, deadly flooding in China.
The image you see above, which a certain friend of mine likes to put on Twitter (and who has a big Hawkeye Pierce-style retaliatory practical joke coming his way when he least expects it,) is Hader trying to understand why I would joke about something like this.
Hader did the right thing, by basically saying, “too soon,” and following it up with “that’s not funny, people died.”
I kinda panicked, worried that, I dunno, maybe some new crop of Monsanto-produced tomatoes killed a guy and I didn’t hear about it.
Anyway, the interview ended on a professional note (and this was all cut out of the finished video piece), Hader shook my hand and split, and then one of his handlers came over and asked “what the hell was that all about?”
He and I quickly figured out the misunderstanding (Hader was “down the line” with other interviewers) and the air was cleared in about five minutes.
But we still have this moment of pure (albeit misinterpreted) disgust aimed at me to preserve for all eternity. And now whenever you see me you can say “that’s not funny, people died.”

This Week In Hoffman, Issue #1

Something I should be doing, but I do not do, is use this blog to link to all my published work out there on the web.
As of eighteen seconds ago I’ve decided this will be my 2014 resolution.
If I update this on Sunday nights, looking back at the past week, it won’t become too difficult. I hope. Anyway, let’s try it.
This past week – the first week of 2014 – I didn’t publish all that much.
At ScreenCrush you can read my Most Anticipated Films of 2014.
At you can read The Wolf of Hollywood: Martin Scorsese Is No Stranger to Controversy.
At you can read One Trek Mind: Benjamin Sisko – Son of a God?
And at the Times of Israel you can read my weekly Chosen Films column, which includes the 5 Best Jewish Moments in Movies for 2013.
I might be forgetting something, but if I did it can’t be too important.

Recent Articles

There was a time when I linked everything I wrote from this blog. That time is long gone. But here’s some stuff I did recently you may want to check out.
My interview with Jurgen Fauth about his fantastic book KINO is over at Badass Digest.
The 10 Most Awesome Faster-Than-Light Systems of Travel in Science Fiction (or whatever the hell I called this thing) is over at Popular Mechanics.
My salute to the finale of Star Trek: Voyager is at
My list of best pets on Star Trek is over at
A list of fun, dopey movie gadgets is at
A behind-the-scenes look at how film festivals give awards is at
The best “New Hollywood” movies you probably haven’t seen is over at

Recent Links

There’ve been some new, fun things that I’ve written for various outlets that you may want to check out.
Firstly, my review of WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN is over at
It’s a great movie, and not quite what you expect.
I have a new column over at MTV’s NEXT MOVIE called Planet Fanboy. It’ll go live every Thursday, kinda in the middle of the day. The first one is a welcome post and the second one is how you should prepare for the first half of 2012.
Lastly, things continue to heat up at One Trek Mind. I’m very proud of the one I wrote for Friday the 13th of Freakiest Star Trek moments. But you should also check out the rundown of Strong Female Characters, Best DS9 Supporting Players, Best Trek Food and Best Trek Drink.

The Descendants – Review at

“The Descendants opens with a snapshot of the sublime. A beautiful woman is shown in close-up, coasting along in a motorboat on a summer day. If Merriam-Webster needed a photo to accompany their definition of “content,” this would more than suffice. After a fade to black, director Alexander Payne slowly begins to reveal the human drama beneath this one perfect moment in time.”
Click here to continue reading……



Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.

He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.